There is an interesting duality among D-Leaguers: On the one hand they want to win for their team; on the other hand they always want to play well enough to be able to ascend to the NBA, the ultimate goal. At times those two driving forces can seem in conflict, but for players like Briante Weber there is a single-mindedness in knowing they can only control what is in front of them. In January, that single-mindedness led to a pleasant surprise despite a loss for Weber and the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
“Every time you get a call like where you can go play and make your dream become a reality is definitely a big moment,” said Weber upon learning he was getting called up to the Golden State Warriors. But Weber wasn’t initially feeling very happy on that January night in Hidalgo, Texas after a game against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
“At that moment, I was kind of a little salty that we had just lost a game,” Weber explained. “I’m getting to my phone, trying to settle down. I was about to talk to my mama and I got three calls from my agent, call from my mom, call from my old coach. Everybody was telling me the news, so I was definitely excited.”
Talk about a change in emotion. One minute you are processing a loss, the next you are hearing some of the best news of your career.
For Weber, it has been quite a journey. The VCU product tore both his ACL and MCL in 2015, cutting his college career short. If that weren’t frustrating enough, he was just twelve steals shy of the all-time NCAA record at the time. Because of the injury, Weber went undrafted in 2015 and his inability to pass a physical prevented him from latching on with an NBA team. Weber was able to spend brief time with both the Grizzlies and Heat later in the season, but has largely been focused on establishing himself in the D-League, where he has become one of the game’s most consistent players. He has spent much of the current season as the No. 1 rated prospect in the league, while keeping Sioux Falls — the defending champions — toward the top of the standings and earning a D-League All-Star birth in the process.
That consistency and effort gained him notice from the best team in the NBA, the Warriors, and to this point his third stint in the NBA has already been more successful than his first two. For some, going from D-League big shot to bench player on perhaps the most star-powered basketball team in decades might seem like a lot, but Weber has kept his head and said his new superstar teammates have been very welcoming.
“It was exciting [to join the Warriors] because they were just so down to earth,” said Weber of his first impressions of the team. “They welcomed me in, joked around with me. It was definitely an experience.”
And speaking of experiences, Weber got to sit down and watch his highlights with Steph Curry. One of the Warriors’ beat writers had asked Curry if he had seen Weber’s game, and when Curry said no, the writer brought up Weber’s January Player of the Month highlights for some on-the-fly scouting.
Curry was so impressed he re-watched the highlights and sought out Weber to ask him about the put-back dunk. Talk about high praise.
So what’s next for Weber?
“Just continue to get better. I’m going to continue to do what I do, control what I can control, and at the end of the day that’s all I can ask for.”
Weber hopes to stay with the Warriors and learn from the best players in the world, but he’s not going to let that get in the way of hard work. Who knows, maybe he will get another barrage of good news soon, just when he least expects it.